Jump to content
Mander Organs
Sign in to follow this  
Niccolo Morandi

Designing a Pipe Organ

Recommended Posts

Some of you who have seen some of my past comments regarding small organs may be aware that I have expressed an interest in one day owning a real pipe organ. Whether this ambition will ever become a reality I don't know, but one thing that I would like to do is draw up a design for a pipe organ.

Obviously this isn't going to get me much further to achieving my goal but it's all I can really do for for now.

My problem is that although I have drawn quite a few pipe organs in the past I have never drawn an organ that is to scale. Or a plan detailing where the pipes and components would be placed inside an organ case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

My problem is that although I have drawn quite a few pipe organs in the past I have never drawn an organ that is to scale. Or a plan detailing where the pipes and components would be placed inside an organ case.

There are many detailed technical drawings available (sometimes at a price) of old string instruments; lutes, viols, Italian violins. Also, similarly, of harpsichords. I’d love to see something similar for old organs. I understand that detailed technical drawings of instruments by our hosts or other modern builders constitute commercially sensitive intellectual property so wouldn’t expect to be able to see those, but it would be great to see how the old master builders managed to fit their pipes and action into sometimes quite small spaces,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CAD-generated drawings of pipe organs are found quite often.  'Organ Building', the house journal of the IBO published annually, often contains them.  You don't need to be a member to get the magazine as back numbers can be viewed and purchased at:

https://www.ibo.co.uk/webStore/organBuilding.php

I just pulled a random copy off my shelves, a rather old one for 2008 (volume 8), and there are at least two articles describing instruments with the help of such diagrams.  This particular volume is available via the link above at £8 plus shipping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

My problem is that although I have drawn quite a few pipe organs in the past I have never drawn an organ that is to scale. Or a plan detailing where the pipes and components would be placed inside an organ case.

Although I have absolutely no qualifications or practical experience in organ design, it is one of my favourite 'hobbies' to design organs.  Diagrammatically, I use an old, but still very workable installation of TurboCAD for detailed and accurately to scale projects, and also Photoshop Elements for less accurate attempts but with the advantage of modifying already published plans.

I don't go so far as to include every single pipe and such things as electrical cabling, etc., but the basic layout of display pipes, wind chests, building frames and case work are more or less within my capabilities.

Of course, written stop lists and the like are relatively easy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, innate said:

There are many detailed technical drawings available (sometimes at a price) of old string instruments; lutes, viols, Italian violins. Also, similarly, of harpsichords. I’d love to see something similar for old organs.

How about some wonderful technical drawings of Cavillé-Coll organs? French digital library “Gallica” has a couple of those:

Dessins de mécanismes d'orgues

Plans du grand orgue de Saint-Sulpice

Coupes de claviers

Orgues de tous modèles (these aren’t exactly technical drawings, but are nonetheless interesting to explore).

M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, SlowOrg said:

How about some wonderful technical drawings of Cavillé-Coll organs? French digital library “Gallica” has a couple of those:

Dessins de mécanismes d'orgues

Plans du grand orgue de Saint-Sulpice

Coupes de claviers

Orgues de tous modèles (these aren’t exactly technical drawings, but are nonetheless interesting to explore).

M

Thank you, they're beautiful designs

 

But yeah I suspected that I don't really need to go so far as to create a complete fleshed out design showing the exact dimensions of every pipe along with all of the components.

To be honest all I really want to do is create a concept art of a pipe organ along with a specification to go with it.

I guess the reason why I'm so concerned about the dimensions of organ pipes is that in order to draw up specification I need to know how much space each rank is going to take up, plus I'm concerned that I am a bit ambitious with wanting to fit so much into a small amount of space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

I guess the reason why I'm so concerned about the dimensions of organ pipes is that in order to draw up specification I need to know how much space each rank is going to take up, plus I'm concerned that I am a bit ambitious with wanting to fit so much into a small amount of space.

My advice would be simply to examine some existing scale plans to gauge typical space requirements for different stops.  Of course, organ builders are expert at knowing how to squeeze things into limited spaces, but if you err on the side of generosity of space I think you'd be on safe ground!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I think creating a specification based off of other organs is probably the best thing to do.

There is also one thing that I really would like to include in the design of my organ and that is a third manual. obviously that would be a lot for a small instrument but I have a couple of ideas that may help. One idea (which is quite common in house organs) is having a coupler manual which I'm confident that it could be a benefit, however this isn't going to be quite the same as a manual with independent stops.

Another idea I'm interested in utilising is a duplex system where a division is shared across two keyboards. I understand that with this system the stops can only be drawn on one manual at a time and not both, but I'm confident that this is a drawback I can live with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it will be a small instrument, why not just consider having all stops available on all keyboards?  You would not be limited to drawing a stop on just one manual at a time - you could have it drawn on all three plus the pedals if you wished.  But of course, if you then played the same note on the same stop on two manuals the pipe would only sound once!  A bonus of this scheme is that you would not need inter-manual couplers, though you could include independent octave and suboctave couplers on each manual (and the pedals) which would only affect that manual.  I am assuming that you will be using electric action of course.

Naturally, you would need more stop controls, but these need not be too expensive if you use illuminated tabs of the type often found on digital organs, or something even simpler such as a push button for each stop with an LED above it (or an illuminated push button unit).  It would not be excessively expensive to fit a combination system (pistons) either, though in saying this I do not know what your budget is.  A digital control system would be required, but it would be straightforward to make if you are into things like Raspberry-Pi's, Arduinos, etc.  Otherwise such systems can be purchased.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wahl organbuilders, a small firm in the USA, make home/practice organs.

http://www.wahlorganbuilders.com/organs/house/Two-Stopthird.shtml

http://www.wahlorganbuilders.com/organs/practice/Six-stopPO.shtml

It is possible to purchase slim books of detailed photographs (alas, no technical drawings) which give a lot of insight into the design of these small, compact instruments. I note that the latest iteration of their two-stop instrument has both II-I and I-II couplers (a feature that Bernard Aubertin also provides (albeit in larger instruments)).

I’m dreaming … 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh do be more ambitious! Three manuals? Check. 16 foot pedal? Check. May I present this example:

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01165

I played it many moons ago on an organ crawl and most impressive it was, not least for being able to pack an eight stop three manual into a case seemingly no bigger than many two manual 8482 practice instruments.

Or even more ambitious, https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N04526

More ambitious still, and with a resultant 32 foot in the pedals, https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N04594#PhotoSection

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Contrabombarde said:

Oh do be more ambitious! Three manuals? Check. 16 foot pedal? Check. May I present this example:

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01165

I played it many moons ago on an organ crawl and most impressive it was, not least for being able to pack an eight stop three manual into a case seemingly no bigger than many two manual 8482 practice instruments.

Or even more ambitious, https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N04526

More ambitious still, and with a resultant 32 foot in the pedals, https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N04594#PhotoSection

Yes I see what you mean about being a bit more ambitious. I don't think I've talked much about the specification I have in mind but at the moment it contains somewhere around 14 ranks. Plus that number also include 6 ranks at 8' pitch along with a single rank at 16' stopped pipe, and above all that it would all have to fit into a case similar in size to the Henry Mills & Son organ you recommended. but who knows, looking at the size of the specification of the Henry Mills organ I think it's just over the half way point.

Hopefully in the following days (or when I get round to it) I will upload some concept art and maybe include a specification.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still working on the concept art so I don't have anything to show you just yet, but I recently came across a house organ that I had stumbled across a while ago but couldn't remember the name of.

It's an instrument that I feel that I have to share with you, as although the specification only consist of three ranks of pipes the case design is quite a conversation piece.

http://www.orgelbauschreier.de/bad-kissingen.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

Still working on the concept art so I don't have anything to show you just yet, but I recently came across a house organ that I had stumbled across a while ago but couldn't remember the name of.

It's an instrument that I feel that I have to share with you, as although the specification only consist of three ranks of pipes the case design is quite a conversation piece.

http://www.orgelbauschreier.de/bad-kissingen.html

Yes!! Wow!! That is stunning, I think that's the word I want!!

I'm not sure I could live with it though!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I am unlikely to own a pipe organ (unless I acquire a house with one - I ended up not learning for as long as I would like due to the local church being kept locked after the verger left) I would prefer to have a box organ. The temptation would be there to have some pedals with it that could be detatched for transport if desired: I have come across something like that before.

This example is taken from the website of Škrabl - https://www.skrabl.co.uk/small-organs.asp -  and is advertised with the specification of Bourdon 8, Flute 4 (both wood) and Principal 2 (Metal) with a 56 note compass: the pedals, if I had them, would play from the Bourdon 8.

10_boxorganl842.jpg

Dave

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Niccolo Morandi said:

Still working on the concept art so I don't have anything to show you just yet, but I recently came across a house organ that I had stumbled across a while ago but couldn't remember the name of.

It's an instrument that I feel that I have to share with you, as although the specification only consist of three ranks of pipes the case design is quite a conversation piece.

http://www.orgelbauschreier.de/bad-kissingen.html

Good heavens!  It looks a bit like that Disney thing in America.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am quite sure the instrument is a work of art, design and craftsmanship of the highest order.  But an alternative approach might be to increase the utilisation of the limited amount of pipework by using electric action to provide as much or as little borrowing/duplication as the client wishes, together with octave couplers if desired.  With the addition of a little more pipework at the top and bottom (if there is the space) of that already existing, a modicum (again, as much or as little as might be desired)  of extension could also be applied to provide additional pitches.  The resulting instrument would be similar to those which were popular in the mid-20th century such as Compton's Miniatura range, still well regarded by some, and similar approaches used by many other builders at that time including Rushworth & Dreaper.  I guess it just boils down to you pays your money and you takes your choice, bearing in mind that electric action would remove some advantages of mechanical action, which are seen as more important by some than others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

Interesting comments Colin.  There's just such an organ that's recently been built in a church not too far from here.  The organ at St Martin, Barcheston is based on a former house organ, and has a fair amount of extension to provide more versatility.  It's been built by Henry Groves & Son of Nottingham, who has undertaken a few broadly similar projects in recent years.  The consultant was Paul Hale.  Details at NPOR E02110.  There are some pictures on the NPOR page.  The Coventry & Warwickshire Organists' Association visited last year, when the organ was approaching completion, so it was possible to hear a little of the sounds.  We were due to revisit this Spring, but we all know why that's been postponed.

Every Blessing

TonyIMG_2328-lo.jpg.08f30da788443df5ee043fbf394dab62.jpgIMG_2329-lo.jpg.5810d0372f0662f5fdf25568480b7660.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for this, Tony.  The NPOR entry mentions a 2M&P reed organ which was displaced by this new pipe organ.  Although this thread only has 'pipe organ' in its title, a large-ish reed organ can also make for an attractive house organ, which is what the OP seems to be mainly interested in.  At least, some people think so, and although I'm not completely sold on them as a rule, I do find the larger ones worth considering compared to digitals in that they are aerophones in the same way that pipe organs are.  Therefore their sounds have a 'liveness' in the sense that they are generated directly by disturbing the air as reed pipes do.  So, out of interest, do you have any information about this former reed organ such as its stop list, whether it was still playable, and where it has gone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Colin

Sorry, I know nothing more of the Barcheston reed organ.  From what I heard on the CWOA visit, it was in very poor condition and I suspect it was probably scrapped.  Through my Reed Organ Society membership (& as a former council member of that organisation) I do sometimes hear of available reed organs.  Is your interest because you want one, or is it academic?  I'm a reed organ enthusiast, but my main interest is the foot-blown variety, especially French-style Harmoniums, which with a lot of practice, are very expressive instruments.  I own 2 Harmoniums.  The ROS web site has a lot of information, and for English instruments (in the main) there's a pretty comprehensive web site put together by ROS member Rob Allen.  See http://tardis.dl.ac.uk/FreeReed/organ_book/node2.html

In my opinion, the 2mp (& larger - at least one firm offered a 4mp) fill the market segment now dominated by digital organs and small pipe organs.

Hope you & your wife are well.  

Every Blessing

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well these drawings aren't perfect but I think they're fine. The design of the organ case or facade of my house organ is something I find to be a bit of a challenge in its self as while the specification is one thing designing a case that works under a low ceiling without looking flattened is another.

The first design is based on an organ I stumbled across just after creating this thread.

http://www.orgelbauschreier.de/anwalting.html

1456117486_houseorganartwork3(2)small.jpg.c495aed8856f4dea7370d6c2984c24c6.jpg

There's a couple of things I wished I had foreseen before I did the outline for this picture, one is a mistake with the pipes in the left tower and the other is realising that radiating pedal boards aren't easy to draw in a 2D. The colour scheme was a bit of an experiment as I probably would go for a pine colour rather than white. Although another colour scheme that I think may work is one similar to the Utopia Baroque organ at Orgelpark in Amsterdam.

The second design I've done is based on an Estey reed organ. With the case height being a problem I have often turned to pip top reed organs and even what could be refer to as digital pipe tops for inspiration. I quite like the design of the pipe facade of this Estey organ but I'm still concerned it may be a little too tall for an 8' ceiling. I think the problem is that a triangular pipe arrangement needs a fair bit of height, although that may depend on how wide the organ case is.

601339725_houseorganartwork2(2)small.jpg.99c0434ff92248e6c9ac77ecd8149cc8.jpg

To be honest I don't think this drawing came out as well as the previous one, the pipe work isn't great as I was kind of impatient to get this drawing done. Plus there are a couple of errors with the organ case that I didn't notice until after I did the out line.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...